Educational Resources

Man masters nature not by force, but by understanding.

— Bronkowski
Fire Safety

Camping is an adventure – and we want you to be as safe as possible when on our public lands.

Read the story of Smokey Bear and how he became a national icon, and learn a few facts about his life as a bear!

Looking for things to do with your kids or class about Smokey? Check out these Elementary School  resources, which are chock full of activity guides, videos, coloring sheets and a full educator’s guide.

For the older kids, check out these Middle School resources that focus on wildfire learning materials, proper campfire etiquette, activities and more.

Campfire Safety

Learn the proper way to build, maintain and extinguish a campfire while on the trail or in a campground.  

Use this list of campfire rules as a guideline every time you’re on the trail or preparing a nice, hot fire for s’mores or hotdogs!  

Thinking about starting a bonfire in the back yard or burning some branches and leaves?  Check out this step-by-step guide on backyard burning to keep your house, your neighborhood, and yourself safe. 

Help Smokey prevent future wildfires by stopping the fire before it even starts.

For the Classroom

Want to get your family or classroom outside and back into nature but not sure where to begin? 

Books to get you started

No problem! Choosing the right trail, identification book or activity guide can be daunting at first, but will ultimately point you in the right direction. Here’s a list of books that are extremely helpful in giving you up-front, general information on educational and recreational opportunities in the great outdoors.

Last Child In The Woods – Richard Louv
Sharing Nature with Children I & II – Joseph Cornell
The Curious Naturalist – National Geographic Society
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America – David Allen Sibley
Birding North Carolina – Falcon Guide
Walking the Blue Ridge – Leonard M. Adkins
55 Favorite Family Hikes – Robert L. Williams
North Carolina Wildlife Viewing Guide – Charles E. Roe
Where Nature Reigns – Jack Horan
Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains And Piedmont – Timothy P. Spira
Trees of the Southeastern United States – Wilbur H. Duncan and Marion B. Duncan
About Amphibians (A Guide for Children) – Cathryn Sill
Discovering Black Bears – Margaret Anderson, Nancy Field & Karen Stephenson
In the Woods: Who’s Been Here? – Lindsay Barrett George

Natural Inquirer

The Natural Inquirer is a middle school science education journal created to allow scientists the opportunity to share their research with students around the country.

Each article explains the current scientific research conducted by scientists in the USDA Forest Service which may include information on trees, wildlife, insects, outdoor activities, water and anything pertaining to the health of our planet.

Cradle of Forestry Field Trips

We recognize that field trips enrich the learning experience.  Therefore, the Cradle of Forestry strives to be a top field trip destination for students and teachers in western North Carolina.  Because we are located in an area rich in history and natural diversity, we can offer school field trips featuring science, social studies and history. View a complete list of programs and their NC curriculum correlation.

The Cradle of Forestry also offers several other resources to anyone interested in teaching their school groups or children about the great outdoors.

family time

Are you looking for a way to spend some quality time with your family while learning something new? 

We’re committed to providing visitors with environmental education and recreational opportunities for children, adults and everyone in between. Programs take place within FIND Outdoors campgrounds and visitor centers each summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Fees may be associated (campground registration or day use fees).

Little Girl Holding Fur

Enjoy guided hikes, crafts, wildlife identification, local history and much more, taught on-site by Education Specialists at the following sites:







Discover The Forest!

Take a look at how important the forest is, find the closest forest to where you live and do your part to help conserve our public lands!  With the Agents of Discovery mobile game, your child can put their phone or iPad to good use as they move, solve puzzles and discover their local forests and parks. Not sure how to pack for a day in the woods? Find out what supplies you’ll need for your adventure, learn about Leave No Trace ethics and read a list of Dos and Don’ts while exploring your local forests.

Story Time

During this time of quarantine and social distancing, you can watch story time with Stephanie, the Cradle of Forestry education manager. 

LOOK OUT FOR TURTLES! by Melvin Berger (Read with permission of HarperCollins Publishers)

PITTER AND PATTER by Martha Sullivan (Read by permission from Sourcebooks)

THE SALAMANDER ROOM by Anne Mazer (Read with permission of Penguin Random House Publishers)

JO MACDONALD HIKED IN THE WOODS by Mary Quattlebaum (Read with permission from Sourcebooks)

FINE FEATHERED FRIENDS by Tish Rabe (Read with permission of Penguin Random House Publishers)

I CAN NAME 50 TREES TODAY! by Bonnie Worth (Read with permission of Penguin Random House Publishers)

MILES AND MILES OF REPTILES by Tish Rabe (Read with permission of Penguin Random House Publishers)

ARE YOU A BEE? by Judy Allen

NOISY FROG SING-ALONG by John Himmelman (Read by permission from Sourcebooks)

Find Outdoors Tours

FIND Outdoors Tours can introduce you to the unique natural and cultural wonders of Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway through tours, hikes, nature-based programming, and educational and outdoor opportunities.

FIND Explorers Club

FIND Explorers Club offers a free, hands-on approach to environmental studies for underrepresented populations in Western North Carolina.  Activities are designed to inspire strategies for protecting our natural world and generate positive attitudes toward the outdoors.

Love the view?

You can help ensure that sites like this remain available for generations to come. 

Lets Go Find Outdoors